book

Blog: A Book Bucket List

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As I was looking through a few new sites this morning, I came across a brilliant idea. We all have our “To Be Read” list on Goodreads. We all have our favorite authors and genres. But how many of us have our very own “Book Bucket List?” I cannot claim to be the creator of this very cool idea, as I found it on a new online friend’s page: Laura @ thebookcorps.  She’s got a fun site, full of book reviews, blog postings and great ideas. Go take a look to see more. I’m thankful to her for posting her own “bucket list” and being OK with me borrowing her idea!

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I’m not exactly sure how this works, so I’m going to make up my own rules. Today, I’ve started it with the top 12 books I want to read: 1 for every month in the next year, including a link to the book on Goodreads. I’ve also included the two books from 2017 that would have been on the list if I hadn’t already read them. I will keep adding to this page as I find new books that I absolutely must read. And when I cross one off the list, I’ll literally cross it off this list (see below) and provide a link to my book review. Without any further ado, below is my official “Book Bucket List” for everyone to see and monitor progress with this initial post, but the permanent page where I will track each update is located here:  Book Bucket List

  1. Arden, Katherine — The Bear and the Nightingale
  2. Bardugo, Leigh — Six of Crows
  3. Brown, Dan — Origin
  4. Follett, Ken — A Column of Fire
  5. Forman, Gayle — If I Stay
  6. Gabaldon, Diana — Dragonfly in Amber
  7. Hawkins, Paula — Into the Water
  8. Maas, Sarah — A Court of Thorns and Roses
  9. Macintosh, Claire — I Let You Go
  10. McKinlay, Jenn — A Likely Story
  11. Morton, Kate — The Distant Hours
  12. Morton, Kate — The Lake House
  13. Mosse, Kate — Citadel
  14. Reichert, Amy E. — The Simplicity of Cider

 

About Me

I’m Jay and I live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. Once you hit my site “ThisIsMyTruthNow” at https://thisismytruthnow.com, you can join the fun and see my blog and various site content. You’ll find book reviews, published and in-progress fiction, TV/Film reviews, favorite vacation spots and my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge.” Since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life… see how you compare! Each month, I will post a summary of a trip I’ve taken somewhere in the world. I’ll cover the transportation, hotel, restaurants, activities, who, what, when, where and why… and let you decide for yourself if it’s a trip worth taking.

Feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Tell me what you think. Note: All content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

Author: Spotlight on Janet Evanovich

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With over 300 book reviews transferred from Goodreads to ThisIsMyTruthNow, my personal website and blog, it’s time to add another feature. I’ve been building a new menu structure in the background over the last few weeks, each time I post a new or updated review. Beginning this week, and going forward each week, I’ll add a new post called “Author Spotlight,” where I will provide a brief overview of an author, the books I’ve read and some thought on the whole subject.

For this first week, I’ve selected one of my favorite authors who has multiple book series, writes in different genres, and where I’ve got some reviews completed, some still to write up and even some books I haven’t read.

Don’t be shy, tell me what you think and what else you want to add / change. First up…

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Janet Evanovich currently writes romance and mystery fiction. For more information on her, you can check Goodreads or Fantastic Fiction, two of my favorite sites. She is one of the most prolific and famous writers in these genres during current times, as you can see by just the list of books I’ve read below, as well as the other series mentioned. To dive deeper into the page I’ve created for her, you can click on Janet Evanovich. See below for a sample of the content on her dedicated page. Additional content includes favorite characters, scenes and books.

Book Series – Stephanie Plum Mysteries

I enjoy these books because she is a funny writer, full of bizarre and relate-able characters; some of which I’d love to meet, but some I would like to stay very far away from. Among my favorites, besides the main characters, Stephanie Plum, are Lula and Ranger. I’ve always been a Ranger / Stephanie fan, and although Joe Morelli can be a sweet guy sometimes, I like the dark and dangerous relationship just a bit more.

… just listing some books here, the rest are on the page noted above or here

  • Sizzling Sixteen (2009)
  • Smokin’ Seventeen (2011)
  • Turbo Twenty-Three (2016) — not yet read
  • Hardcore Twenty-Four (2017) — not yet read

Beyond the Stephanie Plum series, the author’s also written several books in the following series:

  • Fox and O’Hare (with Lee Goldberg) – currently 5 full-length books and several short in-between stories – mystery fiction genre
  • Lizzy & Diesel – currently 3 full-length books, but Diesel is mentioned in the Stephanie Plum short novellas, too – mystery / romance / paranormal genre
  • Full (with Charlotte Hughes) – currently 6 full-length books – romantic suspense genre

Link to Janet Evanovich Page

About Me

I’m Jay and I live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. Once you hit my site “ThisIsMyTruthNow” at https://thisismytruthnow.com, you can join the fun and see my blog and various site content. You’ll find book reviews, published and in-progress fiction, TV/Film reviews, favorite vacation spots and my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge.” Since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life… see how you compare! Each month, I will post a summary of a trip I’ve taken somewhere in the world. I’ll cover the transportation, hotel, restaurants, activities, who, what, when, where and why… and let you decide for yourself if it’s a trip worth taking.

Feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Tell me what you think. Note: All content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

Review: Oliver Twist

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Oliver TwistMy rating: 3 of 5 stars

Review
I only read Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens once, back in 6th grade when I was about 12 years old. It was one of the classic books I’d received as a Christmas present, and I loved Dickens’ other children’s stories, so I had to read this one. It’s much more harsh tho, and might be a little difficult for a 12 year old to take in without having a better picture of the world. It’s one of those books nagging at the back of my mind… “Please re-read me. I bet you’ll like me a whole lot more.” And it’s probably true… so perhaps I can find some time to squeeze this one in for the year. I while read a lot of older books, I should throw in a “classic” or “pre-19th century” book every ten books or so… just to keep me ed-u-ma-ca-ted.

Several key things about the book to help you decide if you want to read it:

1. The catch phrase: can I have so more, may I have another please…

2. Commentary about life being poor

3. Written in 1838… almost 200 years old!

4. A happy ending

Not a spoiler: I’m just saying… we all die sometime, right?

5. Adventure for a young adult / kid

6. Truly understanding what an orphan meant — they have scissors for hands, right?



About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

View all my reviews

Review: Deadlock

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DeadlockBook Review
VI’s back and this time it’s personal. Although it appears like her cousin, Boom Boom Warshawski, a famous hockey player, slipped off the wharf, VI smells trouble lurking in the depths of his shallow grave. 4 of 5 stars to Deadlock, the second book in the VI Warshawski thriller mystery series by Sara Paretsky. When it’s family, you won’t stop until you find the killer. And that’s exactly the path VI sets off on once she’s convinced of foul play. Learning more about her cousin’s life, on and off the ice activities and last few days is not easy. Too many people have different stories, some feel she’s exaggerating the potential clues, but eventually, she finds proof and is able to narrow the path down to a specific reason. But knowing who did it was not easy, especially when she has very little background on the shipping docks and industry. But she finds a few folks willing to help out under the radar — some thru volunteer and some by force.

This was a strong follow-up to the first in series and helped be part of the launch for this series to the forefront in the 80s and 90s. Working in Chicago is tough, but Paretsky does a grand job at showing the risky nature of he business VI’s involved in. Learning how the ships work, what’s necessary for deliveries, how the boats come in and out, etc. is a fascinating business. As usual, these books never fail to provide both a learning experience and an opportunity to solve the crime. One of the early ones in the series, but also one of the stronger ones for me…

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

View all my reviews

Review: The Cat Who Played Post Office

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The Cat Who Played Post OfficeBook Review
4 of 5 stars to The Cat Who Played Post Office, the 6th book in the Cat Who mystery series, by Lilian Jackson Braun. This is one of my favorite books in the whole series. It’s actually the book that really changes the series, moving Qwill from the urban city atmosphere to 400 miles north of everywhere. Yes, some changed in the previous book, number 5, but this is the one where Qwill had to make some decisions about his future. His Aunt Fanny has passed away, leaving him millions of dollars; however, he has to move to Moose County where she lived for 5 years to inherit the funds. The good thing… he doesn’t want the money, but he knows in order to protect all the charities and foundations, he needs to keep the money. And he does… but he eventually stay a lot longer than 5 years.

It kicks off with Qwill having some memory issues post-accident. Someone does not want him inheriting this money, nor living in Pickax. And thus begins his long-time friendships and enemy-lines among the townspeople in Moose County. This is the book where you learn the history, the core families, the necessary facts to set up a series for another 20 books. It’s a must read if you are sampling some in this series. For a while, I wanted to move here… even tho it doesn’t exist… it was modeled after a few towns. Perhaps some day… and I too can solve cozy crimes.

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

View all my reviews

Review: Dying for Chocolate

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Dying for Chocolate Book Review
3 of 5 stars to Dying for Chocolate, the second installment in the Goldy Bear Culinary Mystery series, by Diane Mott Davidson, published in 1992. I stumbled on to this series after college and quickly purchased the first five or six books to read as quickly as possible. It’s one of those series you should read the first few in a row, so you are immersed in the cozy world of fun. And with a title all about chocolate, how could you resist? The recipes in the book look fun and simple. But they tend to be a little non-diet friendly, and although I am not usually on a diet, I do watch what I eat. And when it comes to desserts, I can’t make them too often unless I’m giving them away — or I’ll eat the whole thing.

This book continues the intro to Goldy and her pre-teen/teen son, a good example of a parent/child relationship post-divorce. It helps that Arch is a good kid, but Goldy can sometimes be too motherly over some things. Her friendship with Marla is a hoot. And her interesting flirtation (if you can call it that) with the doctor and the policeman are heating up. But when 1 of them is killed, you know we won’t suffer too long with the infamous cozy triangle.

The mystery is a bit of a whodunit and keeps you guessing but it needs to be stronger in future books (and it does get there). Goldy settles into town just outside of Denver. I’ve always wanted to see Denver, and these books give you a little taste of it.

The other thing about this book is that it’s different than the first one in a way where you can tell the writer was reacting to fan feedback; setting changes, characters change… it’s almost like she’s testing out the best combination for readers. And I’m OK with that in the first few… then I like consistency with growth. Not just a complete turnabout.

Fun cozy times… relaxing series. I go back and forth between this one and Joanne Fluke’s Hannah Swensen series. Very similar styles.

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

View all my reviews

Review: Cream Puff Murder

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Cream Puff Murder 3 of 5 stars to the eleventh book, Cream Puff Murder, in the “Hannah Swensen” cozy mystery series by Joanne Fluke. And yes, it was hard to read without wanting a cream puff the entire time!

Why This Book
I’ve been reading the Joanne Fluke series for several years and had asked for a few of her books for my birthday last month. One was Cream Puff Murder, and once I finished a rather difficult book just before this one, I needed something light and fluffy to shock me back to normalcy. Lake Eden’s Hannah Swensen fit the bill, and I started it two days ago, reading through a third each night up ’til now – review time.

Overview of Story
Hannah’s mother is throwing a book launch party for her new regency novel, and Hannah needs to fit into a dress despite having put on a few pounds. Her sister Andrea steps in to help, and even though Hannah despises exercising, she agrees to spend an hour every morning before work at the gym, focusing on her body. Shortly afterwards, Ronni Ward, fitness instructor extraordinaire, is found murdered in the jacuzzi. Since she’d been dating several men, and annoyed several women, Hannah suspects it’s someone at the gym or in one Ronni’s fitness classes. But Mike and Bill are put on temporary leave, as they may be too close to the crime, since Ronni was working part-time at the police station to make some extra money, and possibly dating Mike on the side. Hannah steps up her work-out time to a few hours a day to attend all Ronni’s classes with with the new instructor to see if she can find out more details, especially when her family and some-time boyfriend aren’t able to work the case. As she begins to narrow down the clues, and her own waistline, Hannah finds herself smack in the middle of disaster again when she steps right into trouble with the culprit. But along the path, she’s determined that she can no longer keep bouncing back and forth between Mike and Norman, appearing ready to finally make a choice for her suitor and potential future husband.

Approach & Style
The book is told in third-person from an omniscient narrator, but the point of view is consistently with Hannah as the main protagonist. Every few chapters, the author throws in some sweet recipes based on whatever Hannah’s cooking up in The Cookie Jar that day. Cream Puffs are this books’ flavor of the month.

It’s a very lighthearted cozy, casual and simple in both setting, dialogue and tone. An easy breezy read in under 4 hours, given the paperback book’s about 350 pages, inclusive of at least 100 focused on recipes.

Strengths
1. Hannah is consistent. Her sisters, mother, friends and boyfriends are all good people and I really enjoy reading about them. It’s comfortable and makes you feel warm and cozy.

2. The town is quite lovely, as is the history you learn with each successive book. It feels like a place you’d love to call home — when you’re done livin’ on the edge in your younger days.

3. Fluke’s got a solid formula that works time and time again, assuming the story is interesting and the cast of characters rotates just enough.

Open Questions & Concerns
1. I probably didn’t need 20% of the book dedicated to figuring what Moishe (the cat) was doing with his new automatic food dispensing unit. Seriously… we kept reading about “where is Moishe putting all that food? He’s not gaining any weight, so he can’t be eating it.” It actually got a little bit annoying. I love the antics and banter with the cat and Hannah, but this was a little too much!

2. Normally, a cozy reveals the murder about 15% into the book; however, it didn’t happen until almost 30% this time. It was a little too much, and I felt at times like I was reading someone’s journal about daily goings-on. I already do that for myself… don’t need this one, too!

3. Mike takes a darker turn and we get a much-needed push in the “Choose Mike or Norman” story line. He does something unexpected, tho, in my opinion… and while I welcomed the direction change, it didn’t feel natural.

4. The mystery was not very strong. It was pretty clear from about 50% in, it was 1 of 2 people; and I knew very little about them, so it didn’t matter which one it was to me. I think it needed a few extra plot points to make this a stronger book.

Author & Other Similar Books
Diane Mott Davidson’s “Goldy Bear Shultz Culinary” mystery series is a good comparison.

Final Thoughts
This was Book 11 out of a series with about 20 so far. I’ve a little over half-way done, still enjoying Hannah and her family, but if she doesn’t make a choice for sure in the next book… I will probably take a break for a while. I won’t give it up, as I love the townspeople and the background setting; but I’d like a little less of the romance and a tad more of the mystery. Still an enjoyable read tho!

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

View all my reviews